Tuesday, February 16, 2010

southwest and the kevin smith dilemma

you've all heard about kevin smith, famed director, being bumped from a southwest flight due to his weight. he was allowed on a later flight without issue but tweeted the hell out of the issue.

here's my thoughts on the issue:

-poor handling - the issue on the plane was handled very poorly. if smith was already seated, why bump him? why come up to someone on a plane and make a spectacle of the person? it just doesn't make sense to me unless they legitimately pose a danger to other passengers (in the event of an emergency). i also imagine that smith was a bit embarrassed or put off and probably didn't make the situation any easier on the flight crew.

-he should have been bumped - smith admits he regularly buys two seats because he prefers the comfort but was flying standbye and was only able to get one seat. that's fine, but he was seen to be in violation on southwest's 25 year old policy on size. if they have a rule about large people, and he normally buys two tickets, he shouldn't have flown in one seat.

-if he wasn't too big for one seat, and he later flew in one seat, he shouldn't have been bumped. it's not like he lost a ton of weight between flights.

now, i'm a larger individual, although i don't know if i'm as big as kevin smith. many people don't realize it, but my 6' frame usually runs around 250 lbs. now, i wish i was ripped like some pro-football linebacker, but i'm not. i don't always fit into seats very well on planes, but i'm not too big yet. and, i've flown on some itty bitty planes, and even spent a flight from salt lake city next to a guy that was probably a few inches taller than i was, and a bit heavier as well. it was uncomfortable, but i sucked it up and lived with it for the duration of the flight. i can empathize for anyone that has to sit next to me on a flight because they're probably feeling the same way. if i was too big to actually fit in the seat properly, i feel that i would have no right to impose upon the people seated next to me. airplanes are very close quarters, and size can present safety issues.

i saw a person speaking out on nightline against southwest and the airlines in general and compared the issue to height. while it is true that an extremely tall person's legs may block the row, they don't affect the aisle. and, a tall person's legs aren't going to be all up in your space.


Lulu said...

I don't know the specifics of what happened to Kevin Smith but the issue in general is one I am torn about. I am very much a person who needs their space so I am incredibly uncomfortable when someone encrouches in my seat on a flight. I always try to get a window seat so I can squeeze myself as far over as possible and I am not a large person so it has never been a big issue. However I did pay for my seat and feel entitled to be able to have the seat to myself.

I also am sympathetic though and don't feel the need to embarass someone or make a big issue of it if one need not be made. I do think there should be a certain size that should be required another seat which is also unfair because that means they have to pay double which can be ridiculously expensive. However the airline can't give seats out for free so it is quite the dilemma, particularly as people get larger.

I can't make up my mind on this issue but I agree Ed that it sounds like it was very poorly dealt with.

Harsh said...

Recently I stopped following Smith's tweets. dude is an absolutely relentless Tweeter that literally overwhelmed my google gadget. Now I'm kind of sorry I did, because to read that thing as it was going down would have been pretty epic....
However, Kevin... you may have missed the memo on this BUT: Maybe if you were to put down the cell phone twitter app and pick up a treadmill every now and then you might not have this problem....

Harsh said...

On a related note: http://abclocal.go.com/kfsn/story?section=news/local&id=7281178

Monticore said...

Bottom Line: Southwest did not handel the situation in a way which would increase the likely hood that "said person" would chose your services or products again.

When watching Southwest own reality show, Airline on A&E it seems that they are guilty of this a lot. Whether it be the person wants to carry a fish on plane, has too much to drink or might not be medically safe to fly, they seemed to present the message of "hey our flights are cheap and overbooked, Our staff hates people or at least their customers and if I can give you any reason to take your business elsewhere then that's one less person I have to deal with."